Crystalens™ Intraocular Lens
Presbyopia Patients Enjoy New Freedom With the Crystalens Implant
Crystalens™ is an intraocular lens (IOL) used to replace the eye’s natural lens. This procedure is a treatment for both cataracts and presbyopia. It was approved by the FDA on November 14, 2003, for these purposes.
Presbyopia is an inability to focus clearly on near objects. It requires you to wear reading glasses or bifocals and it happens to everybody after age 40 or a little older. Some signs of presbyopia are the tendency to hold reading materials at arm's length, blurred vision at normal reading distance, and in some cases eye fatigue along with headaches when doing close work.
Cataracts are tiny clumps of protein which form in the lens. They prevent some of the incoming light from reaching the retina, which impairs vision. Left untreated they multiply and expand and eventually cause total blindness. Since there is no way to remove the cataracts from a lens, the entire lens is removed and replaced with an IOL such as Crystalens.
How Crystalens Works
Of the three IOLs so far approved by the FDA, two others are multifocal (ReSTOR and ReZoom). Crystalens uses different technology and is accommodating rather than multifocal. When an eye loses its natural lens, it loses the ability to accommodate.
In other words, you cannot shift your focus smoothly and instantly from near to intermediate to far and back again as we would do while driving, for instance. To accomplish that, the natural lens changes its curvature in response to the eye muscles which control it. This changes the angles at which it bends the incoming light to keep it focused on the retina, regardless of how far away the light rays came from, or how close by.
The flat Crystalens implant has flexible hinges on each side which allow it to mimic these curvature changes. It moves forward for nearer objects and back for far objects. The same eye muscles (ciliary muscles) control it that controlled the natural lens.
What to Expect on Surgery Day
You will be asked to arrive at the surgery center about an hour before the procedure. Anesthetic drops will be placed in your eyes and an oral medication may be given to help you relax. A microscope will be positioned over your eye and you will be asked to look up into its light.
The actual surgery usually takes less than 20 minutes. You will feel only slight pressure on your eye as your eye surgeon uses ultrasound to disintegrate the natural lens and gentle suction to remove the pieces. The Crystalens is inserted through the same tiny incision at the side of the eye. It is placed in the same pocket which previously held the natural lens. Its two hinges are connected to the ciliary muscles on each side which previously controlled the natural lens.
You may be given eye drops afterwards, and in some cases a protective patch. Your eye surgeon will see you the day after, to remove the patch and examine your eyes.
Your Renewed Vision
Your distance vision will usually be very good within a day or two. Your middle and near vision may be somewhat blurred for a few days and it may take several weeks for your eyes to reach their full focusing potential. The more you try to read without reading glasses, the quicker you will be able to do it.
In addition, the quality of vision compared to wearing bifocals or trifocals will be significantly improved. You simply look at something and the Crystalens, mimicking that accommodative ability of the natural lens, will automatically focus on whatever you are looking at.
Can my vision be corrected to 20/20 for both reading & distance?
While virtually everyone will experience a significant improvement in their uncorrected vision after surgery, some people will not see 20/20 at all distances. A study done by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) found that:
All patients had good intermediate vision and without glasses could see their computer monitor or anything at arm’s length
98% of patients could pass driver’s license eye tests at 20/32 vision or better
98% could read the phone book and newspaper without glasses
93% reported that they did not need glasses for most of their daily activities
For more information about Crystalens, be sure to contact an experienced ophthalmologist like those found at Griffin and Reed Eyecare in Sacramento, California.